American Family Association Continues to Alert Parents About Dangerous Netflix Teen-Targeted Series ‘13 Reasons Why’
Study Shows Kids’ Suicides Spiked After ‘13RW’ Release
With still no announcement on the Season 3 premiere date of Netflix’s teen-targeted series “13 Reasons Why,” major media outlets are still reporting on a study released this spring that confirmed the fears of the American Family Association (AFA, www.afa.net). Suicides among U.S. children aged 10 to 17, the study found, jumped to a 19-year high in the month following the release of “13 Reasons Why.”
For many months, AFA has warned parents about the dangers of “13 Reasons Why,” especially after hearing the tragic story of Anna Bright, the 14-year-old daughter of Joseph and Patrice Bright who committed suicide after binge-watching Season 1 of the program.
“Anna is not the only teen to have taken her life within days of viewing the show,” said AFA President Tim Wildmon. “The families of two 15-year-old California teens, Bella and Priscilla, also blame their loved ones’ deaths on the series. Both teens, who did not know one another, were struggling with depression, watched the show, apparently were triggered by it and committed suicide. Their families, along with many others, are also calling for Netflix to abandon the series. Tragically, many more suicides may have resulted because of ‘13 Reasons Why,’ but families and loved ones will be left to wonder why their children are gone from their lives forever.”
The study by Dr. Jeff Bridge, funded by the National Institutes of Health and published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, found “there were 195 more youth suicides than would have been expected in the nine months following the show’s March 2017 release, given historical and seasonal suicide trends,” according to the Associated Press.
During April 2017 alone, 190 U.S. tweens and teens took their own lives, AP further reported. This age group’s April 2017 suicide rate was .57 per 100,000 people, nearly 30 percent higher than in the preceding five years included in the study. An additional analysis found that the April rate was higher than in the previous 19 years. Season 1 of “13 Reasons Why” was released March 31, 2017.
“13 Reasons Why” has become a lightning rod for critics who say it glorifies suicide and might even make it an attractive option for teenagers who are enduring difficult times. In fact, the Suicide Prevention Resource Center has an entire section of its website dedicated to “13 Reasons Why.”
Season 1 of “13 Reasons Why” focused on the graphic suicide of Hannah Baker, who slits her wrists in a bathtub full of water. Her decision to end her life is explained through a collection of cassette tapes she leaves behind. Season 2 picks up months after Hannah’s suicide, and the gratuitous content is only exacerbated with story lines that include sodomy, homosexuality, drug use, extreme profanity and plotted school shooting.
An online petition launched by AFA urging Netflix to drop the series has drawn more than 144,000 signatures. Read Wildmon’s letter to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings here and sign the petition to Netflix here. Visit an AFA Action Alert on “13 Reasons Why,” and read the article about Anna Bright’s family in AFA Journal.